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Original composition: Sohini and Mahival

The worlds first Urdu Ortorio which was then extended to become the world’s first Urdu opera. Music by Baluji Shrivastav OBE and Dario Marianelli, Libretto by Baluji Shrivastav OBE.

Premiered at Union Chapel Islington London and then performed at the Southbank Centre as part of Alchemy 2015. Sohini and Mahival is the worlds first Urdu Ortorio which was then extended to become the world’s first Urdu opera, with music composed by Baluji Shrivastav and Oscar Winner Dario Marianelli. Its first performance as an opera was to a packed house at the Southbank Centre as part of Alchemy 2015, and we received some wonderful feedback.

This work is fascinating in many respects. It is based on a famous Indian love story using vocalists and musicians from both Indian and Western disciplines. This work extends the tradition of oratorio and opens up new possibilities for Indian music. The process of collaboration is challenging, especially for composers with such differing perspectives. The result is a moving portrayal of a powerful story. This is a scored composition.

Like their European cousins Romeo and Juliet, Sohini and Mahival are tragically star-crossed lovers and their powerful story is a rich source of inspiration. Originally set in a village in the Punjab region of India, the childhood sweethearts grow up on opposite banks of the river Chinav, innocent of the barriers of caste and religion which will be their downfall. Sohini, a Hindu girl falls in love with Mahival, a Muslim boy. When she comes of age, she is forced by her parents into an arranged marriage. However, the conventions of society cannot tame their passion and they continue to meet in secret. Eventually, the family finds out, and Sohini’s sister-in-law makes a hole covered with unbaked clay in the clay pot which Sohini has been using as a ballast to cross the river at night to visit her lover. On one fateful night, as Sohini makes her way across the water, she starts to sink, shouting out to Mahival to save her. He desperately swims out to her rescue, but when he reaches her, they are both tragically pulled under to their deaths by the strong current.

Dario Marianelli was born in Pisa, Italy and is a composer of piano, orchestral, and film music including The Brothers Grim (2005) and Pride and Prejudice (2005). He received Oscar nominations for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures Original Score for Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. He has won Best Original Score for the score of Atonement at the 80th Academy Awards and Golden Globe for Best Original Score.

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